Photo by Steve Brickles

About Jami

Barncat was founded by prolific author and nationally known film critic Jami Bernard to help writers find their voice and finish their books. Because of Jami’s unique blend of qualifications, experience and versatility, no one in the business has a better success rate. She specializes in helping writers bring their creative vision to life and giving them the tools they need to write and troubleshoot in the future.

Eight of Jami’s books have been published by major houses, including Penguin, Warner Books, HarperCollins and Perseus. Two more of her books, manuals on memoir writing and overcoming writer’s block, are available here.

Jami has been interviewed by Oprah, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, Joan Rivers, Geraldo Rivera, Montel Williams and more. In addition to being a keynote speaker, she has made hundreds of appearances on radio and TV. Thousands of her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines, including Entertainment Weekly, Seventeen, Glamour and Self.

Jami has appeared in documentaries as herself, including the IFC’s Indie Sex series, on which she was a consultant. She is widely known for her 20 years as a film critic for The New York Post and New York Daily News. Among the pieces of which she is most proud is a Lois Lane comic she wrote, published by DC Comics, where Lois is based on Jami’s early career as a writer and editor for New York dailies.


Who is Jami Bernard, and why should I listen to her? >>

Jami Bernard is a writer, film critic, copy editor, book doctor and media consultant based in New York. She has published 10 books, a Lois Lane comic, thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, and is a keynote speaker and frequent TV and radio guest. She also publishes a line of writing manuals. She studied with the late essayist and literary critic Elizabeth Hardwick at Barnard College, and has extensive experience on New York City daily newspapers. Jami has published in nearly every style and genre: memoir, non-fiction, satire, op-ed, feature, first-person essay, biography, arts review, reporting, travel, celebrity interview, column, how-to, web, radio, TV, comics, speeches, more.

She did WHAT? You expect me to believe that? >>

It’s all documented! What is not generally known is that Jami is blessed with just a touch of hypergraphia, otherwise known as The Midnight Disease. She is accordingly prolific. More important, she has taken beginning writers from their first paragraph to getting top agents … sometimes in less than a year.

Hmmph. What does her success have to do with me? >>

Being a successful author does not automatically make anyone a great editor or writing teacher. However, the sheer diversity and the many particulars of Jami’s background offer unusual benefits to her students and private clients.

Think of it this way: To write a book; edit it; find an agent; and get your book published, marketed and publicized, you would have to be proficient in all of the following areas: writing (of course), developmental editing, copyediting, publishing, marketing, advertising copywriting, public speaking — with just a bit of design sense thrown in.

Jami is, in fact, experienced in every one of these areas.

If we were talking about being a great ballerina, or football player, or accountant, Jami would not look quite as good on paper. It just so happens that a lot of what she has done in her career has led her directly to this point: She can look at a piece of writing and know exactly what it needs.

She is the rare writer who has experience in both developmental editing and copyediting. (She was the copy chief at a major daily newspaper early in her career). Traditionally, there is bad blood between writers and copyeditors, but because Jami has been on both sides of the desk, she understands the concerns of each camp.

She has written in many genres and for all types of media, including newspapers, magazines and television. She is well versed in screenwriting, thanks to 20 years as a nationally known and widely respected film critic.

Her own books have been published by some of the biggest traditional publishers, including Penguin, HarperCollins and Warner Books. She also knows how to format and ready books for New Media publishing alternatives such as POD (Publish On Demand).

The thousands of movies she reviewed during her 20 years as a film critic have given her an innate understanding of storytelling and structure. (After the first thousand movies you watch, you begin to know precisely how a story needs to be shaped, and you can see mistakes and plot holes a mile away.)

What is her success rate? >>

Glad you asked! Here are just a few stories:

  • An entrepreneur and first-time writer landed a top agent at Sterling Lord less than four months after she began working with Jami;
  • A first-time book writer from the entertainment industry is now represented by the William Morris Agency (now known as WME);
  • A psychologist and first-time writer landed a top agent on her second try;
  • A stay-at-home mom who had written only technical articles signed with William Morris (now known as WME) after being wooed by several agents;
  • A fashion designer who vowed to have a published byline before a milestone birthday got her wish when, after working closely with Jami, a first-person essay she wrote was featured in a prominent New York City arts weekly;
  • A well-known cultural critic came to Jami with a nearly completed manuscript; Jami made her rewrite and rewrite until several agents came knocking;
  • A former newspaper journalist got an agent on the basis of a book proposal and a few sample chapters;
  • An international journalist worked with Jami to switch book genres; he is now in the process of switching agents to match;
  • An award-winning author worked with Jami to develop comfort in a new genre; not only is she nearly finished with the new sample chapters, she also worked with Jami to revive an older manuscript, in yet another genre, that she had given up for dead;
  • A struggling memoir writer got an agent after Jami suggested she try fiction and helped her make the switch;
  • A medical textbook writer came to Jami with a crippling case of writer’s block; she recently announced the upcoming publication date of the book that had been making her miserable!
  • A stay-at-home mom and first-time writer was interviewed about her book by The New York Times and NPR; Jami helped the writer get her sample chapters and outline together AND prepared her for handling the media interviews;
  • An artist and computer instructor with an ambitious first-time book project worked with Jami and now has most of her manuscript completed;
  • Jami helped a doctor find the balance between her chapters on scientific research and those meant for a general readership; the book was published to great acclaim.